LCTC class receives Southern Research grant

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Senior Research and Engineering Design class at LeCroy Career Technical Center has received equipment through a Southern Research Institute grant.

Teacher Jay LeCroy completed a fellowship with Southern Research over the summer and receiving the grant was a part of the program.

“They (Southern Research) helped design a class that would teach students skills they need in the real world of engineering and technology … like how to work with smart technology,” LeCroy said.

Southern Research funds are providing electronic kit, sensors, solder kits, micro-processors and other electronic components and tools.

“What we are developing is field sensors that will … test water, test air and test soil in the field using solar panels to charge batteries,” LeCroy said. “We will build these devices that they can set out on a buoy somewhere, and they will constantly send data back on the cold water quality.”

After students build the sensors, they will contact local power companies and people who live on the lake about the possibility of placing a sensor on their property.

“First, we are going to build them, and then we are going to market them, so the students then have to learn to market devices they build in the world they live in,” LeCroy said. “The entrepreneurial side of this is very important. When you build a piece of technology, you want to be able to sell it.”

Electrical and mechanical engineers at Southern Research were a part of developing the project.

“The training we give a student is straight from the engineers in the real world,” LeCroy said. “They are telling me what they want to see from someone who comes to work with them.”

LeCroy said experience with the Senior Research and Engineering Design project gives these students “an advantage as they go into the school of engineering around the southeast because they have the real-world skills needed to be successful.”

There are seven students from Chilton County High School and Verbena High School in the inaugural class.

LeCroy said students have already begun working with the equipment and completed their first project working up to the field sensors project.

With each project, students will submit an engineering notebook explaining the project in terms that someone who had not taken the class would understand.

With the new ninth through 12th grade STEM program offered at LCTC, LeCRoy said the enrollment in the Senior Research and Engineering Design class should increase in the future.

“You have to have some of our pre-requisite classes to get into that advanced class,” LeCroy said.

The equipment from Southern Research will also be used by this year’s Girl Engaged in Math and Science team.

Southern Research is working with several schools in Alabama as a part of its outreach programs.

“They realize that they need these kids to be able to learn these skills in order to work in today’s world,” LeCroy said.